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Prior History


Couple Prior history points and questions:
1. It seems possible to enlist in a service, say marines, and never take a level in the marine class. For example, a level 1 rogue joins the marines. He advances to 3rd level in rogue after the first term, then stays in marines for 2 more terms and applies all the rest of his level advances toward mercenary. Ending up at 5th level with 3rd rogue/2nd mercenary. Is this a correct application of rule?

2. Or a player could start as a class and gain levels in the class even when not working in the class (Of course the service classes (excluding scout) are an obvious exception to this point).
A player could start as a first level belter. He could join the scouts on term 1, apply 1 level gain to scout. On term 2 quit the scouts and work as a belter (since to work in area you need a level of belter). Apply next 2 level gains to scout (since scouts can level outside of scout service). On term 3 join the marines apply a level gain to belter. This guy would end up as 5th level dude with 3rd scout/ 2nd belter.

Or similarly, start as a level 1 Barbarian and join the navy on the first term. After first term apply 2 level gains to Navy class. On second term gain 2 more levels and apply first to Barbarian (not multi-classing but advancing in levels) and the second to Navy class. Continue with this approach over course of 4 terms to end with 7th level guy and Barbarian 3/ Navy 4. (never permitting navy class to be more than 2 higher than barbarian.

Are there any standard T20 rules prohibiting these advances?
The way I understand it you should apply the levels to the class you are curently inlisted in. For example the service classes have a training period that you take on your first term in that service so you should take at least 1 level in that class to reflect the skills learned in that traning. I don't think there are any rules stopping you from putting the levels into differnt classes it just seems that you are getting the xp for that term doing what a Marine, Scout, ext does that you should put the xp and levels into that class to reflect this.
Not only that but if you are in one of the service classes there may not be alot of time to justify the level incress in some of the core classes. There are always alowances. A Barbarian/Army - A Scout, Professional/Any service class-Admin personel, ext...
Perhaps you, mpastor, would be beter served posting in the " T20 Questions and Answers : This is the place if you have questions about the T20 rules " section lf this board.
In prior history you go through careers (what your PC did in the world), rolling for enlistment and promotion and survival and so on, and those rolls give you XP to spend on classes (which are packages of feats and skill prices etc). The Scout career is a different concept from the Scout class. It's just coincidence that they have the same name.

[It's an incredibly confusing, annoying coincidence. And it's a bloody pain that the bottom-up explanation does not emphasize the distinction or show you how the system clicks together. Not that I'm bitter or angry about spending 6 hours reading the entrails to work out T20 chargen. Oh no.]

There are various rules which govern which classes you can buy levels in using the XP from a term in a given career. These are usually given in the "Multiclass Restrictions" field of the "Game Rule Information" section of the class description. There are rules for when/whether you can buy levels in each class, and not all classes are the same.

E.g. p37 "To multiclass into the Academic class {i.e. to take a level or more of acadmeic}, a character must have earned at least a bachelor's degree at universtity, or have Education 14+ and Intelligence 12+." Once you've met the requirements, which are not directly dependant on career, you can take levels in academic whenever you want.

E.g. p39 "Only a character actively working in the army prior history may multiclass into the Army class". You can do a term in the army career in prior history and buy levels in the Army class with the XP you get. If you then go into the Traveller career for your next bit of prior history, you won't be buying levels in the Army class with the XP.

There are other types of restriction, e.g. to get levels in the Mercenary class (p47) you must have done prior history in one of the military careers. You don't have to be in the Mercenary career to level in the class, though you can, and you could spend XP from Mercenary career terms on levels in some other class (say Rogue class, if you met the requirements for that).

I'll have to go for a lie down before I come to the "Do you do level 1 before or during prior history ?" thing, which makes me dizzy. Or maybe somebody else will spell me. C'mon Hunter/MJD.
I've had my players create their characters at first level; first-thing. They can choose any class they qualify for. If they opt to send their character to University, they spend the experience gained after each stage of Uni. (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate), just as if it were a term of service.

Players may then send their character to any prior history for which the character has at least one class level. Experience gained after each term is applied to the character after the term is complete, and the player can opt to continue the current carreer (provided they are not forced to muster our) or switch to a different carreer that they have class levels for.

Thus, characters who attend University have broader choices of carreers to pursue. Much like in real life.
Originally posted by mpastor:
Couple Prior history points and questions:
1. It seems possible to enlist in a service, say marines, and never take a level in the marine class.
Yes, that is true.

As a personal houserule, I say that when a character who joins a service >career<; Army, Navy, Marines, Scouts, the first >class< level they earn in that career must be in the corresponding class. IE: a PC who joins the Marines >career< must take a level of Marine >class< before they take any other class levels.

You could even expand this to apply to any career if you wish. However this is my houserule and NOT an official guide.

Originally posted by mpastor:
2. Or a player could start as a class and gain levels in the class even when not working in the class.
That depends on the class. There are some classes that in the description specifically say that once a PC has left the >career< that corresponds to it they cannot advance in that >class< any further.

I'm sure this is the case for the Army, Navy and Marine classes. Once you leave the Army, Navy or MArine >career< you can no longer take levels in those >classes<.

There may be other classes with this restriction but I am unsure without looking them up.

Hope that helps some. The rules are a bit vague and could have used some better clarification and examples.
R_Kane, Thanks for your response.

I was actually wondering if a rule similar to Kane's house rule existed in the T20 standard docs. I have spoke with others concerning this point and for us, a similar house rule might be in order. That is...

"Force a person in prior history to take his first level gains per term in the area he currently is working."

Though I must admit, I like the way the authors left the rule general. Prior history after all is just a way to loosely associate age gain with experience point gain, and provide for an easy method to incorporate prior military service into RPG characters.

Of course the military service rule is an exception to the conditions I layed out and I should have been more specific. I corrected the original draft.

Blacky Black Black good point, however, I also wanted to generate discussion like Kane's house rules ideas. BTW, is Blacky an adjective. That is where you often confused with another fellow until he started calling himself Purpley Black Black?
Good posts guys (except for Blackyblackblack - sorry to single you out, but your words had an angry tone to them :eek: Hope you dont take offence. no flame intended)

Multiclassing is a confusing box of frogs, (hopping all over the place!), I personally think that players should choose a class, and then if they want to change class, muster out and begin play, gaining xp points to be used in whatever class they are currently playing. Unless they can come up with a convincing reason why they should multiclass and gain those extra skills and benefits, e.g a marine multiclassing into the rougue career, because he is selling stolen arms and equipment on the black market. In order to balance this I would then modify their survival roll (making it slightly harder to account for the increased risk they are running) but in all cases I would stipulate that half of their XP is spent in their main class etc.

It's just good story telling...

The other alternative is simply to have them muster out and begin play immediately if they want to pick up the skills of another class, and role play the changes.

Tough, some might say mean. This is exactly the line of approach used by MegaTraveller (My first experience of traveller), so I am happy with it.
Originally posted by Morte:
Not that I'm bitter or angry about spending 6 hours reading the entrails to work out T20 chargen. Oh no.]
Well, that was your problem, right there. Reading entrails is properly used for the starship design sequence. For chargen, one need only determine that the stars are right (based on primary class and home world) and follow the advise of the Tarot cards. All it takes is 1 rank in P/divination to determine which of these rituals is needed.
I suppose the starting feats represent the training that your first level marine would get, as a bare minimum, and failure to take any other levels in marine, would result in him being considered a lazy soldier, as a compromise you could always insist that any xp gained in promotion or commission etc had to be used in the marine class as part of the additional training recieved when the character was promoted etc.
While requiring at least one level in the (normally military) class the character has just completed the enlistment term for is a common house rule, it isn't official. I usually prefaced such a statement with "you should..." but having known a number of pre-military (ROTC, mostly) and ex-military types, you really do get out of the service what you put into it, despite your DI's stated goals. As such, I allow the book's stated procedures (to the extent the book *could* state procedure, being under the limits of the D20 OGL) to stand. I will typically point out that "If you hadn't planned on taking any levels in Marine, why did you enlist?"
To start I'll answer the question at the end of GC's post - At a mechanics level - to gain access to the career path, the demob benefits and cash track and to fit the feat that needs it (Martial training), or the career development that needs it eg Merc requires a military term to multiclass too.

The game makes a BIG deal of seperating class and Service and I really don't think any player should be forced to take levels if they don;t want to - a Quartermaster would have the basics only, someone who was a merc and then enlisted (drafted perhaps) and got sent to the frontline, a specialist will have picked up tech skills perhaps at the very least. Their plan might have been to finish a level in their current class and then move on to the service class if needed. All work..

At a gaming level - its pure roleplay - Bilko didnt join the army to get levels of Army - he joined to get levels of Rogue...the career sets a story to work up a background if nothing else....